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Resilience in the Workplace

Friday, January 22, 2016

Google the word ‘resilience’ and you will get about 38 million explanations… but what is this current ‘buzz word’, why is it important to you, and how can you benefit from resilience training?

We all respond differently to failure or trauma in our lives. While some people seem to bounce back, others can become caught in a downwards spiral of negative thought. We all know that person. The one that keeps fighting after every failure, the person that seems to have ‘Psychological Teflon’ – research proposes that this is the effect of resilience (1). At the crux of it, resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. It is the ability to see the positive in a potentially very negative or challenging situation. Specifically, at work, resilience helps us deal with constant change, competing priorities and increased workload.

But why is resilience important? Beyond the hype, evidence shows us that individuals with high resilience, have a more balanced outlook on life and believe that they can learn from mistakes and challenges. Resilient individuals are able to better handle adversity and rebuild following trauma or challenges, such as job loss, financial difficulty, relationship breakdown or death of a loved one.

In everyday life, put simply – resilience builds happiness. It helps us make the most of the challenges we are faced with. Resilience will not prevent difficulties, but is allows us to be prepared to deal more effectively with these challenges. You may not know, but resilience affects us every day, in almost every situation. There may be people in your life or workplace who are dealing with numerous stressors but are still able to come to work with a smile.

From a workplace perspective, the effect of a non-resilient workplace can be far-reaching. Low levels of resilience has been associated with:

  • Increased absenteeism;
  • Increased accident rates or WorkCover claim;
  • Reduced morale;
  • Poor workplace relationships;
  • Reduced output and performance;
  • Increased staff turnover (2)

Within the workplace, it is important to be able to identify stressors and the effect it has on yourself and others around you. With all of the above having potentially systemic toxic effects on a workplace, it stands to reason that implementing a culture of resilience through resilience training should be a ‘no-brainer’ for all employers.

Some people are naturally more resilient than others, but the good news is: evidence shows us that resilience can be taught! (3) Resilience training can provide ‘real-world’ strategies and techniques to help build your ‘resilience bank’. That way, when a challenge does come your way (which, in life, is inevitable), you will have effective strategies that can support you.

Resilience training will help you build mental toughness, develop new ways of thinking about challenges, challenge your unproductive coping strategies and support you to manage emotions and adapt your mindset.

Resilience is not an extraordinary quality - it is ordinary, attainable and demonstrated in people in our daily lives. But resilience is an active process; we need to work on enhancing our resilience, and building a happy, mentally healthy workforce!

Emma Hardy


References:

1. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx
2. Department of Education, Training and Employment, 2012
3. Robertson, Cooper, Sarkar & Curran (2015) Resilience training in the workplace from 2003 to 2014: A systematic review

Actevate offers a full suite of Mental Health Training services, including Resilience Training.

For more information, contact us on 1300 669 552 or use the contact form below.

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